Robin Palanker – Culver City – 11/06/2013

Robin Palanker grew up in Buffalo, New York. She first came to California to study at Cal Arts in Valencia in the early 1970s. She was a figurative drawer who had a strong interest in theater and dance and was caught navigating her way between the feminist art program and David Salle. Immediately after she finished her degree she went back to New York but she soon made her way back out West. We met in her Culver City home studio and talked about her “Goddess I know” series. She photographed of her friends how they wanted to be photographed and then created 66 graphite and mixed media portraits on 12 x 9 inches panels. This documenting of people she knows stems from an earlier project she did in the late 1970s when she was working in New York at a prominent advertising agency and hanging out with Robert Heinecken. She photographed everyone in the office—the president of the company, art director, receptionist, photographer, etc.—holding a generic toaster.  The final result is a series of compelling postcard-size black/white images mounted on matt board. Each image is labeled on the back with the person’s first name and occupation. None of her colleagues looked like anyone from “Mad Men.” Currently, Robin is gearing up to prepare a new body of work for a solo show and is thinking about the circus.